English sports to allow spectators to witness some events
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Saturday, said the stadiums in England will soon allow spectators to witness some sports events. Cricket will be the first sport that could be attended by the fans in person. Some spectators will also be allowed into the world snooker championship in Sheffield from July 31, and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on August 1.
We intend to bring audiences back in stadiums: Johnson
"We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn. From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums. These changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to successful outcome," said Johnson.
County friendlies to serve as pilot events
The upcoming two county friendlies will be used as pilot events to test the return of fans to sporting venues. Surrey's two-day friendly against Middlesex starting on July 26 is set to be the first event. Several other counties have arranged pre-season fixtures, which could be open to a limited number of fans. Meanwhile, the County championship is set to resume on August 1.
Here are some primary guidelines
Despite the entry of spectators, stadium capacities will remain restricted with limited timings. Notably, social distancing measures and one-way systems will be required. Barriers or screens will have to be installed where social distancing are less likely to be maintained (when buying food and merchandise or betting). Furthermore, fans will be told not to attend if they could be easily exposed to COVID-19.
The move will help the clubs generate revenue
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said the step will benefit clubs who are unable to generate revenue. "I recognize not every sport, team or club has the benefit of huge commercial revenue, and it is often their dedicated fans that are the lifeblood which helps keep them going. By working closely with experts, these pilots will help ensure the safe return of fans," he said.
English Football Association earlier slashed 82 jobs
Last month, the English Football Association announced it was cutting 82 jobs to cover an anticipated deficit of $370 million as the COVID-19 pandemic restricted crowds at games. The English FA-owned Wembley Stadium was due to be staging several games, which eventually got canceled.
The status of sports in UK
Competitive sport in England resumed in June for the first time since March. with Premier League getting underway. Although the league has seen no crowds as of now, it is understood that the organisers want maximum number of fans allowed back in the stadiums. Besides, international cricket, golf, horse racing and snooker are among the other sports to have resumed.